Going to court

8th March 2015 by


Whether you are being represented by a divorce lawyer in Brighton or  London, or if you are representing yourself, there are certain steps you must undertake when seeking a financial settlement on divorce.

In most cases, ancillary relief proceedings will take place after the decree absolute has been granted and although the financial aspects of the divorce proceedings won’t be settled, the spouses will be free to remarry. If the couple has been able to agree financial arrangements and no-one is applying for a financial order, there will be no need for further proceedings following the granting of a decree absolute.

When financial arrangements are agreed without a court order, it is still a sensible idea to seek the advice of a divorce solicitor who, along with your former-spouse and their family lawyers, can help draw up a formal and legally binding financial settlement agreement for all parties to sign – without such an agreement it would be possible for a spouse to return to court to seek a financial order at a later date.

Court procedure for ancillary relief

Although going to court to sort out the financial aspects of a divorce will incur costs and legal fees, there are some benefits to entering the family court system.

    • There is a strict timetabling of events, so you can be assured that things will move forward within a predetermined time and won’t drag on indeterminably


  • If you reach impasse with your spouse and agreement seems impossible, the court will make a ruling which both parties must adhere to.

Divorcing couples who are in dispute over arrangements will be expected to undertake a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting to find out what means are available to settle family disputes without the need to go to court.

However, if there are exceptional circumstances, such as an urgent matter to resolve, court proceedings can be issued immediately.

The First Appointment

Both parties and their divorce lawyers are required to attend the First Directions Appointment at family court where a district judge will determine whether all previously supplied information is in order and whether further information or expert evidence is required. At this meeting the judge will fix a date for the next step of the process.

The FDR appointment

The Financial Dispute Resolution appointment can, in certain cases, be combined with the First Appointment. The FDR appointment requires the attendance of both parties, and their legal representatives, at court and aims to address all issues and, hopefully, achieve financial settlement.

Both parties will have been required, prior to the FDR meeting, to put forward proposals for financial settlement and will have met immediately prior to the FDR judicial meeting to discuss the issues.

If full agreement is reached, the court can, at this point, determine a court order for financial settlement which both parties must abide by. However, if agreement cannot be reached, the case will go to hearing and if the delays are deemed to have been unreasonable the court can order the payment of costs..

Final hearing

Prior to the hearing the judge will be in receipt of the applicant’s statement of proposals which he or she intends to ask the court to make. This will, in turn, be followed by the respondent’s own proposition for his or her requirements and the divorce solicitors will also send all their documents to the court for consideration.

At the hearing, the judge will examine all the evidence including any from expert sources. Any decision regarding costs will also be determined at this point. When the judge is satisfied he will make his findings known and then make a detailed financial order determining how all marital property will be divided and whether any maintenance or lump-sum payments are required.

Healys family law team in Brighton can help you in court

Whether you have been able to agree terms of a financial settlement on divorce amicably or it is going to be necessary to commence court proceedings, the divorce team at Healys has all the experience you need to be assured that your best interests will be looked after.

We believe strongly that we can serve clients best by listening sensitively to their circumstances and, wherever possible, we approach financial disputes using constructive and conciliatory methods. However, if this is not appropriate or proves unsuccessful we will take robust action to ensure swift and cost-effective resolution.

For more details regarding appearing in the family court or if you wish to speak to a divorce solicitor in Brighton please call 01273 685 888 or email an enquiry to family@healys.com